With more than 100 million users, Pinterest is one of the most popular social platforms and because of its lucrative demographic, is widely considered to be one of the most attractive social platforms for advertisers.
Not surprisingly, developers are equally attracted to Pinterest because of its audience and in May, the company announced a beta of its Pinterest Developers Platform, a suite of APIs and SDKs that give developers the ability to create apps that integrate with the Pinterest experience.
Since launching the Pinterest Developers Platform, the company has received thousands of ideas for apps and integrations, and the high-profile partners participating in its beta have realized significant benefits.
According to Pinterest spokesperson Jamie Favazza, "Over the past few months, we’ve been working with developers including IFTTT, Polyvore and Topshop to launch the first Pinterest integrations. In that time, Polyvore increased their traffic from Pinterest by 35 percent, and the number of Pins saved from Polyvore has jumped tenfold. The number of Pins being saved from IFTTT has grown 33 percent week over week."
Polyvore group manager Vishwa Ranjan says "Pinterest and Polyvore [are] a match made in heaven" and credits his company's API integration with Pinterest for making it easier for users to interact with both services. The result: "Pinterest is by far the top network in terms of number of shares. It’s also the top network in terms of traffic."
With Pinterest's new sandbox in place, all developers now have the access to a test environment in which they can prepare their own apps and integrations. Through the sandbox, developers add testers and collaborators and after they authenticate, apps have access to their Pinterest data including profiles, Pins and boards. Once a developer is ready to launch an app, it can be submitted to Pinterest for review and approval.
Does slow and steady win the API race?
Having launched in 2010, Pinterest is not a new kid on the block. So the fact that it's just now releasing a public API might come as a surprise to some, especially given the fact that other social media giants, like Facebook and Twitter, were more aggressive in launching open develop platforms earlier in their lives.
But managing a public API has proven to be challenging for popular social platforms. Twitter in particular has created its fair share of controversy in this area. That might help explain why companies like Pinterest and Snapchat have been slower to launch public APIs.
For Pinterest, it's unlikely that taking its time has reduced developer demand for access to its platform, and if the company can learn from and avoid some of the mistakes other social platforms have made with their APIs in the past several years, it's entirely possible that Pinterest's developer community will soon become one of the largest and most active in the social media space.